TikTok users are going viral with videos about weekends feeling "different" because of the pandemic.
One woman said she no longer felt like socializing and wanted to eat cake at the weekend instead.
A psychologist said the pandemic had encouraged more people to spend time alone.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans rarely left their homes. Many were left isolated and adapted their lifestyle habits to fit a quarantined lifestyle. Nowadays, even as restrictions are rolled back, there are still lingering social effects.
More and more TikTokers are talking about how they prefer to spend their weekends quietly at home over socializing. A psychologist told Business Insider the pandemic had "fostered a broader societal acceptance of spending time alone."
The discourse was largely kicked off by the TikToker Christina Kwong, who posted a clip on January 7 asking whether anyone else felt as if weekends were "different" now.
"Like, I don't care about having plans on Saturdays or Sundays anymore," the 32-year-old said in the video, which has been viewed more than 820,000 times. "Even Fridays are just, like, I'm ready to go home."
Kwong added that she felt content with enjoying a slice of cake and sparkling water and not needing to go out.
"Is this age, or is it just a weird phenomenon that's happening amongst all of us?" she asked.
The video sparked a flurry of people agreeing with her in stitch responses and replies. Many commenters blamed the worsening economy and inflation for making going out a financial burden, while others said their social torpor was a result of the pandemic.
"If I leave my house I spend at least 100 dollars," one comment with more than 3,000 likes said. "Everything is so expensive it's not fun anymore."
"It hit me a couple months ago hard," another person wrote. "Zero desire to go out drinking at bars."
One viewer wrote that having any weekend plans annoyed them, and Kwong replied by saying it also made her "irritated."
Young people are prioritizing recharging over partying on the weekends
Kwong told BI she'd been feeling this way for about a year. She said she used to love going on trips, new adventures, birthdays, and dinners, but now she "finds peace" in staying home and recharging.
She said she believed it was a combination of her aging and a natural result of life after the height of a pandemic.
"I think we're all tired from navigating a world of uncertainty within our lives and the reality we live in," Kwong said.
In a stitch of Kwong's video with more than 700,000 views, the user @thefriendshipexpert blamed the change on the concept of "learned loneliness." Citing an article from The Atlantic from 2023 that said there had been increased loneliness coupled with a lack of socialization in the past few years, the TikToker argued that people felt more compelled to stay home and chill on the weekends now than before the pandemic.
In one of the studies cited, a March 2022 survey of 1,243 American adults that was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 59% of respondents said they hadn't fully returned to their pre-pandemic activities.
Viewers agreed with the results, though many said they weren't upset about being alone. Numerous viewers praised this shift toward a more "introverted world," and some said they loved using the weekends to recharge their social batteries.
"I spend all my time now just working out, walking, exercising, working, reading, sleeping, watching & learning," one person wrote. "My life has never been more peaceful."
The pandemic has 'reduced social pressures,' a psychologist says
Yasmine Saad, a licensed clinical psychologist, told BI that weekends feeling "different" now could be due to the pandemic and other global events and adversities that cause stress.
Saad said "cocooning," or the idea that people shield themselves from potential danger by staying home, was a natural response to the heightened anxieties of our time.
"The concept of 'chilling' has evolved into more than just a leisure activity," she added. "It's become a crucial part of coping mechanisms, allowing individuals to decompress and find solace amidst the turmoil of the world."
She said she'd observed a "dual trend" in behavioral shifts after the height of the pandemic. While some people had become newly social and active, others had relished the rejuvenation that comes with alone time, especially in a world that increasingly values self-care.
"The pandemic has reduced social pressures, enabling people to embrace their preferred style of recharging, whether it's through socializing or enjoying solitude," Saad said.
This could suggest that people no longer feel the obligation they once did to hang out with friends on the weekends.
Saad said the intent behind someone's choices was the most important factor. If someone was staying at home because of "excessive avoidance" or feeling as if socializing was an obligation, she said, they should reconsider doing so.
"The goal is to engage in activities that internally rebalance and rejuvenate without tipping into extremes," Saad said.
Read the original article on Business Insider